secured in April 2019 by Assembymember Didi Barrett. This isn't the first time an effort has been made to rid Hudson of the tyranny of trucks passing through the city on Routes 9 and 9G. Back in 1999, a task force was formed, and a serious effort was made to reroute the trucks. Last week, Sam Pratt, who was a member of that task force, shared with Mayor Kamal Johnson, the Hudson Business Coalition, and Gossips his account of what that task force had accomplished and the outcome of their efforts. Gossips has Pratt's permission to share the information here.
THE TRUCK ROUTE TASK FORCE DESIGNED A NEW ROUTE FOR NON-LOCAL TRAFFIC IN 1999; DOT AGREED IT COULD BE DONE, BUT COUNTY OFFICIALS QUASHED THE EFFORT.
- In the 1990s, The Columbia-Hudson Partnership was a combined agency jointly performing work for the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) and the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC).
- In 1999, the Partnership convened a Truck Route Task Force to determine ways to remove non-local truck traffic within the City limits.
- Members of the Task Force included then Assemblyman Patrick Manning, then Alderman John Porreca, Daniel Grandinetti, Bruce Finn, Richard Koskey, and several others.
- The Task Force gathered basic truck data, interviewed truckers, studied maps, explored alternative routes, and met with State Department of Transportation (DOT) officials.
- Without exception, the truckers we interviewed making non-local trips said that they would prefer not to drive through the City of Hudson if there were an alternative, due to the difficult turns, slow traffic, many lights, and road hazards they encountered.
- At the instigation of Mr. Koskey and Mr. Finn, some time was spent exploring the idea of a "ring road" around Hudson to divert non-local traffic. Their idea was a route which would connect Route 66 in Greenport through the then Cycletech property on 23B, connecting Route 9, Route 9 & 23, and/or Route 9G, possibly via Newman Road or through the former Atlas Cement property.
- This "ring road" idea eventually was abandoned due to the many complications involved, such as securing permission from multiple land owners, the presence of wetlands on many of the parcels, and the large potential cost.
- However, significant progress was made in discussion with DOT. Specifically, DOT officials told members of the Task Force in a meeting that the State Truck Route could be moved almost immediately, with very little cost or work.
- The officials indicated that all that would need to be done, once a different route was agreed upon, was to (a) change the signage on the existing and new route; (b) send out bulletins about the new route to trucking companies; and (c) confer with each of the municipalities involved.
- The Task Force designed a new route which would have directed non-local truck traffic via 9 & 23 and/or 9H & 23, rather than using 9G into and out of Hudson. (Note: Research about the history of creating the 9 & 23 connector to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge indicated that this was the original plan, but that at the time the City of Hudson insisted that the truck route remain going through Hudson, for fear that a route around the City would diminish local business!)
- While the new route would be slightly longer in terms of miles for a few truckers, the Task Force estimated that their trips would actually become quicker, because of how long it takes for trucks to navigate through the City of Hudson.
- However, these promising discussions came to an abrupt end in early 2000, following the election of Mayor Kenneth Cranna. Without notification to the Task Force members, responsibility for further truck route action was moved from The Partnership to the County government. To my knowledge, the new County committee took no further action and tabled the discussion.
- My understanding at the time (I was the Grants Commissioner for the start of the Cranna administration) was that this was done because the County Supervisors for Claverack, Greenport, and/or Stockport objected to the idea and wanted the change of route halted.
- For years since, much misinformation has been circulated by various public officials in Hudson and elsewhere that it is somehow "impossible" to change the State Truck Route. I will not speculate on the motives for them spreading this notion. However, my experience on the above Truck Route Task Force directly contradicted that notion. Indeed, it was DOT officials who stated that making a change would not be difficult from their point of view. Indeed, they felt it would be quick.
- Unless something significant has changed in State law or policy, I believe the solution we designed remains viable, affordable, quick, and extremely positive for both the City of Hudson and truckers as well. The only real work to be done would involve approaching the Supervisors for neighboring towns and securing their support.
- Since the Partnership was eventually dissolved, I do not know which agency retained the records of the Task Force, if either one did. It might be worthwhile to ask both HDC and CEDC what records they have about its work.
I hope the above proves useful. If the maps we worked on are no longer in HDC or CEDC records, I could attempt to re-create a basic diagram showing how it as going to be done, to the best of my memory.